China becomes Sri Lanka's largest foreign investor

Colombo, Dec 3 : China has emerged as Sri Lanka's largest foreign direct investor accounting for 24 percent of the inflows in 2013, an official said here Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan government has set a target of $2 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) for 2013 and as of November had achieved $1.2 billion of the target, reported Xinhua.

Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said companies from China accounted for the largest amount of FDI into the country followed by Hong Kong with 12 percent.

Singapore came third in line with 10 percent, while the Netherlands and Malaysia rounded out the top five.

"We are very satisfied with the FDI progress this year. Last year FDI was $1.2 billion. We have already matched this amount and are confident of exceeding it by December. This year FDI created 10,000 additional jobs in Sri Lanka," he added.

Around 31 percent of the FDI was for manufacturing with 19 percent for port terminals and 17 percent for telecommunications. Property development received 13 percent of the investment, while hotels and restaurants grabbed 6 percent.

In contrast, agriculture, information technology and business process outsourcing industries only got 1 percent each of FDI.

"In 2013 the state-run board of investment approved 118 FDI projects with a combined value of $1.9 billion. Of these, 105 projects have had their agreements signed, while 55 have begun implementation," he added.

More than 100 Chinese delegates participated in the Commonwealth Business Forum held last month on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where deals amounting to over $1.5 billion were signed with Chinese companies.

After Sri Lanka ended a 30-year war in 2009, China has emerged as largest loan provider with $1.2 billion in 2009 and $821 million in 2010 to Sri Lanka.

In 2011 the loan amount fell to $784.7 million, but China remained involved in almost all the large-scale projects in Sri Lanka, according to the finance ministry.

--IANS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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